Understanding the Nutritional Value of Your Food
The human body needs a wide variety of foods in order to maintain its health and provide energy to carry out various functions. A good diet is necessary to maintain a healthy weight. In order to have a healthy diet, individuals should eat a wide variety of foods from different food groups. The primary food groups are carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, meat and fish. When choosing a food group, one should try to select the food that has the highest nutritional value. With so many choices available, it is sometimes difficult to know which type of food is best.
Fruits and vegetables are the richest source of dietary fiber. Fiber provides many benefits to the body by regulating bowel movements and reducing the risk of colon cancer. A diet high in fiber helps to control the absorption of sugar into the body, thus lessening the risk of developing diabetes. Fruits and vegetables also contain other antioxidants that help protect the body against free radicals, the compounds that cause aging. Studies have shown that a diet rich in antioxidants can slow down the development of heart disease.
Carbohydrates occur naturally in foods such as rice, bread, cereal, pasta, potatoes and fruits. These foods contain carbohydrates, which provide energy, but do not affect blood glucose levels. In order to maintain a healthy weight, it is recommended that individuals add a small amount of carbohydrates to their daily diet, but avoid consuming too much, as excessive carbohydrates can lead to binge eating, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies.